Following an outbreak of a novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China, rapid community, regional and international spread has occurred with exponential growth in cases and deaths. On 30 January 2020, the Director-General (DG) of WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005). The first case in the Americas was confirmed in the USA on 20 January 2020 and Brazil reported the first case for Latin America and the Caribbean on 26 February 2020. Since then, COVID-19 has spread to 50 countries and territories in the Americas.
PAHO/WHO activated regional and country incident management system teams to provide direct emergency response to Ministries of Health and other national authorities for surveillance, laboratory capacity, support health care services, infection prevention control, clinical management and risk communication; all aligning with priority lines of action. The Organization has developed, published, and disseminated evidence-based technical documents to help guide Member States’ strategies and policies to manage this pandemic in their territories.